Sunday Times 4437 (12 Jun 2011)

Solving time: 40:27, but this should be discounted as I resorted to aids in the NW corner.

I didn’t have time to do this on Sunday, so I did it online during over my lunch on Monday. I found it generally straightforward, but slowed down by some unknowns – ELEMI & ASSEVERATE. Ran into a roadblock at 2/14/17 which contained too many unknowns for me to puzzle my way through. I resorted to aids for these three as I had a pretty good idea they weren’t going to come to me.

There was also some pretty devious wordplay in clues like 6d & 15a.

cd = cryptic def., dd = double def., rev = reversal, homophones are written in quotes, anagrams as (–)*, and removals like this

1 RA(S)P
10 LARGO = LARGE with last letter changed. This was straightforward enough, but I have a dislike for clues that require you to change some aspect of a word without giving any indication in the wordplay of what it’s changing to.
14 A + U + BERG + E – I wasn’t familiar with either the composer (Alban I assume) or the inn, and without the checking B from 2d, I didn’t have enough to go on and needed aids.
15 CHARADE = MADE with CHAR replacing the M
17 COX + COMB – I don’t really see how COMB = ‘to dress’, and without the all-important checking X from 2d this never occurred to me until I resorted to aids.
20 ALL THE KING’S MEN – cd – A Humpty Dumpty reference
23 LOVE MATCH – dd
24 thE + LEM + I – Elemi is a type of tree resin, and LEM is an acronym for Lunar Excursion Module, the lunar module design used on the Apollo missions. Anyone who’s seen Ron Howard’s excellent Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks should be familiar with it.
26 PLAiN
2 STRONG + BOX – I’m not familiar with Roy Strong, and was confused by the unnecessary ‘at museum’, thinking I was looking for a security device peculiar to museums. I guess the ? should have given me pause but without either of the last two checking letters, I was stumped.
5 E(L + ASTI)C – EC is the postcode area for the City of London, and is often seen used in this way in the Times/ST puzzles.
6 EXTERNAL DEGREE – cd – I started off looking for an anagram of (EG BRENDA + MARTHA) despite the lack of an anagrind, but cryptic reference to the fact that the external letters of Brenda & Martha are BA & MA, both degree qualifications.
7 A + TRIAl
8 ER + A + Sunday
16 A + LA(RM)B + hELL
19 P + RIT(HE)E
21 L(EVE)E
22 B + LOT

16 comments on “Sunday Times 4437 (12 Jun 2011)”

  1. A rare excursion under 30 minutes for me these days but I had two wrong guesses which rather takes the gilt of the proverbial gingerbread.

    At 2dn I went for SPRINGBOX (BOX exchanged for the LOCK in SPRINGLOCK). I know Roy Strong but am not used to living persons appearing so I never considered him. ‘At museum’ seems totally irrelevant and unfairly misleading to me unless I have missed something.

    My guess at 24ac was also way out. Having looked up the correct answer I parsed it as EL, EM, I where the letters LM (Lunar Module – it’s in Chambers) are written out in full.

    BERG turned up in the Saturday puzzle the day before this one was published, so there was no problem calling him to mind.

    1. Just to be clear, I’m not questioning your parsing, Dave, I can see it’s the correct one.
  2. 17a, dress = “To arrange and groom (the hair), as by styling, combing, or washing.” from
  3. 20 minutes, so I suppose (I don’t remember) I wasn’t slowed down much anywhere, although I had no idea who Strong was (is). I didn’t mind the letter-exchange device in 10ac, but I wasn’t sure whether ‘musical piece’ was appropriate for the name of a tempo (unless a movement is a piece). ELEMI: once again, doing the NY Times xwords comes in handy; this is yet another of their chestnuts.
    1. Think Handel’s “Largo”. If I knew how I’d send you a link. But it’s a pretty famous pice of music
      1. I didn’t know the Handel ‘Largo’, but have now listened to a couple of YouTube versions. And I also came across, e.g. an ‘Allegretto’ by Karl Jenkins, an ‘Andantino’ by Carulli, etc.; so, although I wasn’t objecting to the clue, I’ll withdraw my wasn’t-sure-ness.
  4. 23 minutes here. I was also confused by STRONG because I’d forgotten this was the Sunday puzzle and wasted time on SPRINGBOX and STRINGBOX which I thought might be some arcane museum security devices.I remember Roy Strong from his frequent TV appearances. Cod 6d which raised a smile.
  5. Just over 20 minutes for me, but I had to resort to aids for 24ac. Without thinking I then submitted it on the club site without opting for “without leaderboard”, making for an inadvertant cheat. Mea culpa.
    At the risk of being told off I’m afraid I’m going to submit that this is a poor clue. Both ELEMI and LEM are pretty obscure, and if you don’t know either it is impossible to solve it. There was another one like this is in the jumbo on Saturday, and I’m afraid I dislike them a lot. We’re supposed to be able to solve these without a dictionary, aren’t we?
    I hope neither setters, editors or anyone else will take this sort of complaint in the wrong spirit. I never cease to be amazed at, and grateful for, the quality of these puzzles, and the enjoyment they give me. The Sunday puzzle has become part of my weekly routine, which it never was before. This goes without saying for me, but from time to time it is worth saying. Especially when whingeing!
    For me STRONGBOX was OK because although (like others) I hadn’t heard of STRONG, there’s enough there with checkers and definition to be sure.
    1. I agree entirely with your point about ELEMI and had exactly the same thoughts about it when I discovered the answer. I also feel a bit peeved about STRONGBOX because of the apparent irrelevance of “at museum”.
    2. I agree in principle with keriothe and jackkt, but I suppose a lot depends on whose ox is gored: As I said, ‘elemi’ (and for that matter, ‘LEM’) is common enough in the NYT that I had no problem with this particular clue (I believe I got it with just the I + ‘resin’). Still, frequency in NYT puzzles is hardly a criterion for judging familiarity to UK solvers.
      1. It has often struck me that US solvers face this sort of problem far more often than us Brits (Barnes and Barnes-Wallis, to take a recent example). I suppose this is inevitable in a UK-based puzzle but it must be frustrating.
  6. I can see your point about STRONGBOX, but for me the inclusion of the question mark makes it OK. A bit loose, but OK.
    1. To me the question mark might suggest that a museum could be one example of a place that may have a strongbox but it’s so random. There could be a strongbox anywhere, in a corner shop, on a milk-float or in one’s study etc. And anyway the clue works perfectly well without such an example. I’m still wondering if there is something here that I am missing.
      1. I think it’s just there to help the surface – if a curator’s fighting for a strongbox you’d expect it to be in a museum. Otherwise I agree, unnecessary and a bit loose, but in keeping with the general style of the Sunday puzzles.
        1. Yes, I sort of see museum is not quite as random as my previous post suggested.

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